Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized History of a Real Doll By Mattel's estimate, two Barbies are sold on this planet every second. Tool of corporate misogyny? Symbol of feminist self-determination? Or merely a sexy piece… Pop Culture
Book Review

Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized History of a Real Doll

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Writer: M.G. Lord; Genre: Pop Culture

By Mattel's estimate, two Barbies are sold on this planet every second. Tool of corporate misogyny? Symbol of feminist self-determination? Or merely a sexy piece of plastic? Barbie-bashing is as popular among feminists today as slamming Madonna was about 10 years ago, and author M.G. Lord tells why in this beautifully written piece of scholarship, Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized History of a Real Doll. A Barbie apologist and former columnist for New York Newsday, Lord examines Barbie's ideological pros and cons, tracking her commercial and sociological evolution and interviewing numerous Barbie collectors, impersonators, and even mutilators (RuPaul, for one, gave his Barbie a mastectomy). The writer's only misstep is in attempting to bolster Barbie's feminist credentials by pointing up Ken's comparative wimpiness (strong women don't date wimps). Although she wears her Barbie sympathies on her sleeve, Lord leaves plenty of room for the reader to come to her — or his — own conclusions. A-

Originally posted Jan 27, 1995 Published in issue #259 Jan 27, 1995 Order article reprints